by Max Brantley
The Commission was very receptive to our presence and tried their best to answer our questions regarding the closure of McMath Library as an early voting site for the upcoming LRSD millage election.I've had an FOI request pending with the district for several days on the fees — legal, advisory, underwriting — that would be paid and to whom if the bond refinancing is approved. I have also asked the district why election decisions seem to have been delegated to a bond firm.
As you previously reported, the Commission said they did not initiate the decision to close McMath — that decision came from the district and was communicated to them through Jack Truemper of Stephens, Inc. The Commission said they do not know the district's rationale for closing the site.
They said the traditional early voting sites of McMath, Williams, and Dee Brown Libraries are currently unavailable for the week of early voting. We asked that if another eligible voting site (that met all of their qualifications) volunteered to serve as an early voting site, whether would they consider approving a 2nd early voting site. They agreed, but said they are on a strict deadline and that we need to notify them of the potential new early voting site by Monday at noon.
We are currently scrambling to call our networks in hopes of securing a 2nd early voting location.
At the 8:16 mark of the livestream video, I ask specifically who communicated to them the wish to close McMath and whether it is a conflict of interest for a company that has a vested financial interest in the passage of the millage to be deciding where the early voting sites will be. I didn't mention this in the meeting, but this point is especially salient considering the business community knows most of black community is against the millage, and the voting site they shut down is in a predominantly black neighborhood.
The Commission responded that the bond company is essentially speaking for the district as their representative, and that yes, they have an interest, but their interest is the same as the district's. I don't know if this is how things are typically done but, to me, this seems very odd and extremely prone to conflict of interest.